Now that humans have shot themselves up into space, frolicked on the moon, and have their own space station just chillin' in the middle of the galaxy, what's really left to accomplish out there? How about cruising around at light speed? Apparently, a boastful group of scientists at the Bae Institute in Southern California feel that they're one step closer to achieving the impossible, as the "world's first photonic laser thruster" was purportedly demonstrated. Using a photonic laser and a sophisticated photon beam amplification system, Dr. Bae reportedly "demonstrated that photonic energy could generate amplified thrust between two spacecraft by bouncing photons many thousands of times between them." The Photonic Laser Thruster (PLT) was constructed with off-the-shelf parts and a bit of fairy dust, and it's said that this invention could eliminate the need for "other propellants" on a wide range of NASA spacecrafts, theoretically savings millions on energy costs and enabling longer missions. So while this may be an incredibly novel idea, the chances of this actually working outside of a laboratory seem relatively small, and make sure we're not the guinea pigs strapped into the first craft that utilizes this mystical method of launching, cool?

[Via Wired]